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Toxic Crystals, Fakes & Forgeries


Chalcanthite
Chalcanthite - a highly toxic, artificially grown crystal

POTENTIALLY TOXIC CRYSTALS


For those new to crystals, it can be a bit startling to find out that some minerals are actually toxic to varying degrees. Respecting crystals for the beautiful, powerful, elemental forms that they are means taking some very real things into consideration when working with the pieces in your collection. While the majority of crystals are generally quite safe for handling and use, there are a few notable exceptions and certain practices to be avoided. First and foremost - please use a healthy dose of common sense when handling minerals. Store crystals out of reach of young children until they can understand how to care for them, and be mindful of pet's potential exposure as well.

Determining mineral toxicity is complicated and something that requires an intimate knowledge of chemistry and biology. The potential inhalation or ingestion of toxic mineral particles is often considered the biggest cause for concern. Many toxic minerals are also water soluble to varying degrees, or may interact with natural acids on your skin - both which can liberate potentially harmful elements from within their crystalline structure. Crystals should never be consumed in any form. If you are unaware of a crystal's chemical formula, please exercise caution. Countless books and websites extol the virtues of gem elixirs, yet take little time to discuss the dangers of this practice. We take a more conservative approach, recommending only gem essences or elixirs created via the indirect method of preparation for those starting out (to make an indirect elixir, place crystals in a separate glass inside your bowl or jug of water so that the stones do not come into direct contact with the water). Similarly, yoni eggs have also become popular in recent years - posing particular concern not only from the possible absorption of toxic elements, but also due to the potential friability of many stones.

While it is important to be aware about toxic stones, it is also necessary to distinguish the qualities of a pure element from those of a mineral compound. A real life example would be NaCl - better known as common table salt - which is composed of the poisonous gas Chlorine and the explosive metal Sodium, yet it is rendered safe and stable in its compound form. Some crystal lists have sparked needless alarm without taking into consideration the stability of many mineral compounds, even if they do contain a singularly toxic element within their structure. However, the differences between solubility and stability can be subtle, and Mindat.com is the best resource for any additional research. The following is by no means a complete or comprehensive list - nor does it claim to outline all of the exact or potential risks - but the hope is that it may serve as a rough guide to help navigate some of the more well known toxic minerals. I have also taken the liberty to assign 'avoid completely' to some carcinogenic, radioactive and especially dangerous minerals below which I personally feel do not have a place in domestic collections. Be especially cautious of Sulfide and Halide mineral groups as these are the most chemically reactive. Gem cutters & lapidary hobbyists should take all appropriate safety measures to avoid breathing in dust when cutting or grinding any type of stone. Please also note that there are still a great many crystals not mentioned in this list that, while they may not be considered inherently toxic, are still not suitable for direct method elixirs due to their friable or soluble natures.




ANGLESITE - treat with extra care - contains lead; may react with acids in the skin; keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, handle infrequently & wash hands after handling


ARSENOPYRITE - treat with extra care - contains arsenic & sulphur; releases toxic fumes when heated; avoid placing in a sunny window, keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, handle infrequently & wash hands after handling


ASBESTOS INCLUSIONS - special mention - minerals such as Serpentine, Tiger's Eye, Pietersite & Riebeckite Quartz contain asbestos within their crystalline structure, but in their polished form are considered very unlikely to pose any kind of risk; however, raw specimens of asbestos-bearing minerals should be treated with extra care; keep raw specimens away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, handle infrequently & wash hands after handling


AZURITE - treat with extra care - contains toxic levels of copper; keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, handle infrequently & wash hands after handling (especially raw specimens)


BETAFITE - avoid completely - contains radioactive uranium; not suitable for collections


CHALCANTHITE - avoid completely - contains dangerous amounts of copper in a highly soluble form; extremely toxic to human health & aquatic ecosystems; not suitable for collections


CHRYSOTILE - avoid completely - a variety of asbestos; carcinogenic; not suitable for collections


CINNABAR - treat with extra care - contains mercury; releases toxic fumes when heated; avoid placing in a sunny window, keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, handle infrequently & wash hands after handling


CERUSSITE - treat with extra care - contains lead; may react with acids in the skin; keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, handle infrequently & wash hands after handling


CROCIDOLITE - avoid completely - a variety of asbestos; carcinogenic; not suitable for collections


CROCOITE - treat with extra care - contains toxic hexavalent chromium & lead; very friable & soluble in acids; keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, handle infrequently & wash hands after handling


ERIONITE - avoid completely - a fibrous zeolite mineral; carcinogenic; not suitable for collections


GALENA - treat with extra care - contains lead; may oxidise & degrade to form a powdery coating of Cerussite (lead carbonate) or Anglesite (lead sulphate); keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, handle infrequently & wash hands after handling


LOPEZITE - avoid completely - contains dangerous, highly soluble hexavalent chromium; carcinogenic & extremely toxic to aquatic ecosystems; not suitable for collections


LORANDITE - avoid completely - contains thallium, arsenic & sulphur; carcinogenic; not suitable for collections


MALACHITE - treat with extra care - contains toxic levels of copper; keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, handle infrequently & wash hands after handling (especially raw specimens)


MARCASITE - treat with extra care - contains sulphur; when exposed to water or humid environments, Marcasite may form crusts of white powder (Melanterite) & sulphuric acid; keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, handle infrequently & wash hands after handling


MIMETITE - treat with care - contains lead; keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, wash hands after handling


MONAZITE - avoid completely - contains radioactive thorium & sometimes uranium; not suitable for collections


ORPIMENT - treat with extra care - contains arsenic; can photo-decompose to highly toxic powdery Arsenolite; keep out of light, keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, handle infrequently & wash hands after after handling


PYRITE - treat with care - contains sulphur; when exposed to water or humid environments, Pyrite can oxidise and degrade to Marcasite, which may form crusts of white powder (Melanterite) & sulphuric acid; keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, wash hands after handling


REALGAR - treat with extra care - contains arsenic; readily photo-decomposes to highly toxic powdery Pararealgar, keep out of light, keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, handle infrequently & wash hands after handling


SILICATES - special mention - while this mineral group (including Quartz, Garnet, Feldspar, Beryl, Tourmaline & many others) is widely considered very safe & stable in crystalline or polished form, prolonged exposure to the inhalation of fine silicon dust particles may lead to silicosis; take appropriate safety measures if cutting or grinding material & avoid breathing in dust


STIBNITE - treat with care - contains antimony; keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, wash hands after handling


TOBERNITE - avoid completely - contains radioactive uranium; not suitable for collections


VANADINITE - treat with care - contains lead & vanadium; keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, wash hands after handling


VILLIAUMITE - avoid completely - contains dangerous amounts of fluoride in a highly soluble form; extremely toxic to human health; not suitable for collections


WITHERITE - treat with extra care - contains barium; toxic if ingested; keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, handle infrequently & wash hands after handling


WULFENITE - treat with care - contains lead; keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, wash hands after handling


ZEOLITES - special mention - this mineral group includes many fibrous species (such as Okenite, Natrolite & Mesolite) and care should be taken to avoid inhalation of small particles; keep away from children & pets, avoid breathing in dust, avoid contact with water, wash hands after handling


 

CRYSTAL 'FAKES'


For as long as crystals have been cherished, there have been crystal fakes. In his Natural History, Roman author Pliny the Elder notes that Ancient Egyptians had techniques for counterfeiting Lapis Lazuli, their most prized stone. Pliny goes on to describe various processes used by the Romans to impersonate or manipulate different gemstones, including reconstituting and artificially dying crystals as well as manufacturing deceptive glass fakes. Medieval alchemists also understood that heating stones could change their physical properties, and later lapidary texts mention accounts of treating Carnelian in a sugar solution to darken its colour (a practice still used in modern times).


In the crystal trade today, many different gem treatments, synthetics, and outright fakes exist - some commonly known, and some not as easily perceptible to the untrained eye. Unfortunately many inexperienced sellers promote some of these fake crystals as the real deal. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and be sure to purchase crystals from a trustworthy and knowledgable source. While faked stones of glass or other materials may be objects of beauty or power in their own right, any known treatments should be clearly disclosed by the seller. The list below includes a number of marketing names for treated stones as well as a few non-crystals and notorious fakes. You may also wish to reference our article on Crystal Trade Names, Synonyms, & Misnomers for more on this topic: https://www.solsticestones.com/post/synonyms-trade-names-misnomers




ALUM CRYSTAL - a manmade lab-created material composed of potassium aluminium sulphate, seen in a variety of colours & easily grown from a science kit; also known as Cermikite or Alunite (though not to be confused with the genuine mineral Alunite)


AMBER - much genuine Amber is available on the market, however many manmade resin fakes exist; watch out for unusually clear pieces (especially those with a perfectly 'preserved' creature on the inside - real insect Amber is rare and expensive); genuine Amber can also be subjected to various artificial treatments, such heating it in oil to create 'sun spangles' (disc-like inclusions) seen commonly in jewellery, heating it to achieve a green colour or a darker shade of orange or red, or reconstituting small fragments with heat and high pressure; Copal is the name for young Amber (less than 20 million years old) and is usually softer & lighter in colour


ANDARA CRYSTAL - a notorious scam for manmade coloured 'slag glass' or 'cullet glass' (used in landscaping & aquarium decoration) being sold as authentic natural crystals from the earth; also known as Monatomic Andara


AURA QUARTZ - a series of artificially enhanced Quartz varieties available in a spectrum of rainbow colours, originally created by the deposition of pure elemental vapours of Gold, Titanium, & Indium in a vacuum chamber; low quality Chinese versions have also been produced more recently, coated with various dielectric (electrically insulating) chemicals similar to those used on mirrored sunglasses; the same treatment has been applied to Amethyst clusters & occasionally Danburite crystals; coated geode or cluster formations are sometimes also known as Rainbow Druzy


BELLO OPAL - a manmade lab-created polymer material commonly sold as an Opal imitation


BISMUTH - most commonly refers to a manmade lab-grown material with bright rainbow sheen & stepped 'hopper' formation; only very rarely found in nature as a silvery white metal


BLUE GOLDSTONE - a trade name for a manmade glass containing tiny glittering flecks of Cobalt particles suspended in a coloured matrix; also seen in green & gold varieties


BLUE OBSIDIAN - most commonly refers to a manmade glass with a bright transparent aqua or peacock blue colour; genuine blue Obsidian only occurs naturally as a turquoise-blue sheen against a black background, as one of the colours sometimes seen in Rainbow Obsidian


BLUEBERRY QUARTZ - a manmade glass with streaks of bright blue colouring, often shaped into artificial points and spheres; a red version of this glass is called Cherry Quartz


CARBORUNDUM - a manmade material composed of silicon carbide, artificially produced as an industrial abrasive & sold as dark rainbow metallic 'specimens'; also known as Moissanite


CAT'S EYE - often refers to a manmade material available in many bright colours, composed of synthetic glass fibres that transmit light in a satiny sheen, resembling the effect of chatoyancy as found naturally in Tiger's Eye or Chrysoberyl (also known as natural Cat's Eye)


CERMIKITE - a manmade lab-created material composed of potassium aluminium sulphate, seen in a variety of colours & easily grown from a science kit; also referred to as Alum or Alunite (though not to be confused with the genuine mineral Alunite)


CHALCANTHITE - most commonly refers to a manmade lab-grown material composed of bright blue copper sulphate; an extremely water soluble & highly toxic substance to be avoided; only found very rarely in nature as fibrous prismatic crystals; not suitable for collections (see above)


CHERRY QUARTZ - a manmade glass with streaks of bright red colouring, often shaped into artificial points and spheres; sometimes also seen as Cinnabar Quartz or Strawberry Quartz (not to be confused with the trade name Strawberry Quartz used to describe a genuine combination of Quartz with flecks red Hematite inclusions), or Blueberry Quartz (a blue glass version)


CITRINE - most of the commonly available orange-tinted or dark amber coloured 'Citrine' on the market is actually heat-treated Amethyst; artificial Citrine is mostly seen as broad clusters or chunky 'root' points with white at the base; another variety of fake Citrine from China has a green-gold tint; genuine Natural Citrine can be identified by its typically longer prismatic crystals found in a range of colours from light blonde to golden brown (Smoky Citrine)


COLOURED AGATE - there are so many wonderful varieties of Agate, many of them displaying beautiful natural colours (Blue Lace Agate, Condor Agate, Crazy Lace Agate to name a few); however, the structure of Agate is porous, making it popular for artificial dye 'enhancements'; dyed Agates are most often seen as tumbled stones, geode slices, or in jewellery in a range of bright colours including magenta pink, royal blue, purple, green, red, orange & even some unsuspecting shades of brown; similarly, Chalcedony (of which Agate is a variety) can also be subjected to artificial dyes, most commonly achieving a dark green or aqua blue colour


CRAB FIRE AGATE - an artificially enhanced variety of Agate that has been heat-treated and 'crazed' (quench-crackled) to induce a mottled appearance; also known as Spiderweb Carnelian


CRACKLE QUARTZ - an artificially enhanced variety of Quartz that has been heated to a very high temperature and then cooled quickly, or quench-crackled; the shock creates a network of fractures which can absorb various brightly coloured dyes; also known as Fire & Ice Quartz


'CRYSTAL' - when not used in a mineralogical sense, a colloquial term used to describe 'lead glass' tableware or decorative objects of manmade origin; also known as Lead Crystal, Czech Crystal, Swarovski Crystal & Waterford Crystal


CRYSTAL BALL - while this term may be applied to any natural crystal that has been shaped into a sphere, many glass fakes exist on the market; beware of absolute perfect clarity, especially for a low price (most Quartz will have some inclusions, even slight); truly optical 'water clear' crystals are considerably rare


CUBIC ZIRCONIA - a manmade lab-grown material composed of zirconium dioxide, used in jewellery as a Diamond imitation or alternative; sometimes seen simply as 'CZ'; not to be confused with the genuine mineral Zircon


CZECH CRYSTAL - a manmade lead glass used in tableware or decorative objects; sometimes referred to simply as 'Crystal' or Lead Crystal; similar to Czech Crystal & Swarovski Crystal


DALMATIAN STONE - a natural rock composed of white Feldspar & black spots of Arfvedsonite, often seen as beads & tumbled stones artificially dyed in a range of bright colours; also known by the misnomer Dalmatian Jasper


DETROIT AGATE - a manmade material composed of layers of automotive paint, resulting from the buildup of enamel in areas where cars were spray-painted; also known as Fordite or Rainbow Calsilica


FIRE & ICE - an artificially enhanced variety of Quartz that has been heated to a very high temperature and then cooled quickly, or quench-crackled; the shock creates a network of fractures giving it a shattered 'icy' appearance; also known as Crackle Quartz


FORDITE - a manmade material composed of layers of automotive paint, resulting from the buildup of enamel in areas where cars were spray-painted; also known as Detroit Agate or Rainbow Calsilica


GAIA STONE - a manmade material composed of bright green transparent glass, said to contain ash particles from the Mount St. Helen's eruption; also known as Helenite or Green Obsidian


GALENA GEODE - an artificially modified composite crystal consisting of a Quartz geode (or sometimes a manmade clay matrix) lined with glued-on chips of Galena


GILSON OPAL - a manmade lab-created polymer material commonly sold as an Opal imitation


GREEN GOLDSTONE - a manmade glass containing tiny glittering flecks of chromium oxide particles suspended in a coloured matrix; also seen in blue & gold varieties


GREEN PHANTOM QUARTZ - many genuine varieties of green Phantom Quartz exist, with delicate inclusions of natural minerals such as Chlorite, Fuchsite, or Epidote; however, fake clusters from China have recently emerged with bright green saturated 'phantoms' at the tip or part way down the crystal (due to the introduction of chromium dye); these fake clusters have been created in a lab with synthetic remineralisation, showing rhombohedral terminations & forced secondary regrowth of tiny needle points along the prism faces; some specimens will also show wire rack marks or small holes on the base from where they were resting in the autoclave; these fake phantom clusters are also seen in purple, yellow, and blue-tipped varieties


GOLDSTONE - a manmade glass containing tiny glittering flecks of copper suspended in a coloured matrix; also seen in blue & green varieties; also known as Goldfluss


HELENITE - a manmade material composed of bright green transparent glass, said to contain ash particles from the Mount St. Helen's eruption; also known as Gaia Stone or Green Obsidian


HEMALYKE - a manmade material composed of reconstituted iron oxide and used as a Hematite imitation; it is also frequently artificially magnetised & sold as Magnetic Hematite; also known as Hematine or Hemalike, or Rainbow Hematite when artificially coated with Titanium (not to be confused with a genuine variety of Rainbow Hematite-Specularite, with iridescence due to natural surface inclusions of aluminium phosphate)


HOWLITE - a genuine mineral in its own right (naturally white in colour), but one that is often artificially dyed and sold as fake Turquoise; watch out for unnaturally bright or saturated colours, 'crackled' looking vein inclusions or grey coloured veins


IMPERIAL JASPER - most commonly refers to an artificially dyed matrix material available in many bright colours, often shaped into beads; also known as Sea Sediment Jasper or Regalite; not to be confused with the trade name for a genuine variety of delicately banded Jasper from Mexico, known as Royal Imperial Jasper


KALLAIT - a trade name & synonym for Turquoise, although it more often refers to Turquoise imitations (dyed Howlite or Magnesite); also sometimes spelled Kallaite


LEAD CRYSTAL - a manmade glass made with lead, used in tableware or decorative objects; sometimes referred to simply as 'Crystal'; also known as Czech Crystal, Swarovski Crystal & Waterford Crystal


LEKLAI - a substance of 'fluid metal' crafted into sacred amulets in Thailand; the name may have once have referred to botryoidal Hematite, but there are many scams that seem to declare manmade slag metal (a byproduct of the smelting process) as a mysterious natural crystal gathered from cave walls by Buddhist monks


LOPEZITE - most commonly refers to manmade lab-grown material composed of potassium dichromate; an extremely water soluble & highly toxic substance to be avoided; only found very rarely in nature as small spherical aggregates


MALACHITE - genuine Malachite is readily available, however manmade fakes composed of resin have been making their way onto the market, especially in beads & tumbled stones (also sometimes reconstituted with Azurite); watch out for odd swirling patterns & fuzzy or thick, solid banding; authentic Malachite when polished will display very delicate concentric banding & sometimes a gentle chatoyancy


MAGNETIC HEMATITE - a manmade artificially magnetised material composed of reconstituted iron oxide or ceramic ferrite, commonly sold as imitation Hematite (or Magnetite)


MOISSANITE - most commonly refers to manmade lab-grown silicon carbide used in jewellery as a Diamond imitation or alternative; also known as Carborundum; alternately, found in nature only extremely rarely as tiny crystals in some Meteorites or Kimberlites


MOLDAVITE - much genuine Moldavite is available on the market, however an increasing number of glass fakes exist; watch out for unusually bright 'emerald' green pieces, those that appear shiny or wet looking, as well as those lacking surface definition or having rounder edges; genuine Moldavite falls within the realm of dark olive green in colour, with a slightly matte sheen and an irregularly pitted or dimpled surface texture (additionally, Moldavite from Besednice has an even more refined & delicate formation); genuine faceted Moldavite gems can be distinguished by their noticeable air pockets inside


MONARCH OPAL - a manmade lab-created material commonly sold as an Opal imitation


MYSTIC TOPAZ - an artificially enhanced variety of Clear Topaz, coated with a rainbow film


OPALITE - a luminous manmade glass commonly sold as imitation Opal or Moonstone


PEACOCK ORE - most commonly refers to artificially treated Chalcopyrite, acid-washed & oxidized to bring out intense rainbow colours; true Peacock Ore is actually a synonym for another copper mineral, Bornite


PINK LAZURINE - a manmade lab-grown pink Quartz simulant; similar to Siberian Blue Quartz


PRUSKITE - a manmade lab-grown material composed of yellow potassium hexacyanoferrate or red potassium ferricyanide


RAINBOW MOONSTONE - the vast majority of Rainbow Moonstone (White Labradorite) available in jewellery & polished stones is natural; however, quite obviously dyed versions in blue or pink do appear seldomly; occasionally, Rainbow Moonstone in jewellery may also be 'backed' by a dark or coloured film to give the gemstone an artificial tint


RAINBOW CALSILICA - a manmade material composed of layers of automotive paint, resulting from the buildup of enamel in areas where cars were spray-painted; also known as Fordite or Detroit Agate


RAINBOW DRUZY - an artificially enhanced variety of Quartz with micro 'druzy' crystals coated with a rainbow sheen, originally created by the deposition of pure elemental vapours in a vacuum chamber (usually titanium oxide of varying thicknesses); low quality Chinese versions have also been produced more recently, coated with dielectric (electrically insulating) materials similar to those used on mirrored sunglasses; also known as Aura Quartz


RAINBOW HEMATITE - a manmade material composed of reconstituted iron oxide, polished into tumbled stones or other shapes and artificially coated with Titanium (not to be confused with a genuine variety of Rainbow Hematite-Specularite, with iridescence due to natural surface inclusions of aluminium phosphate)


REGALITE - an artificially dyed matrix material available in many bright colours (especially purple, blue & green), often shaped into beads; also seen as Imperial Jasper or Sea Sediment Jasper


RHINESTONE - an old name for any kind of gemstone imitation (plastic, resin, or glass)


SEA SEDIMENT JASPER - an artificially dyed matrix material available in many bright colours (especially purple, blue & green), often shaped into beads; also seen as Imperial Jasper or Regalite


SIBERIAN BLUE QUARTZ - a manmade lab-grown Quartz simulant; similar to Pink Lazurine


SIEBER AGATE - a manmade 'slag glass' of a dark blue colour produced as a byproduct of iron smelting at the Steinrenner Hütte smelter of the Königshütte iron works in Bad Lauterberg, Germany in the late 18th century (not 1400 years ago as some sources claim); also known as Sieberachat or Bodeachat


SILLIMANITE - a genuine mineral in its own right, but one that is often artificially dyed and sold as fake Ruby, Sapphire & Emerald in jewellery; watch out for pieces that have an unusually bright colour for their size along with a patchy, grainy or fibrous appearance (also look for dye that may be more concentrated along cracks or impurities in the stone)


SLOUCUM OPAL - a manmade silicate glass, used as an Opal imitation in the early-mid 20th century; also known as Opal Essence or Slocum Stone


SPIDERWEB CARNELIAN - an artificially enhanced variety of Agate that has been heat-treated and 'crazed' (quench-crackled) to induce a mottled appearance; also seen as Crab Fire Agate


SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL - a trademarked name for a manmade lead glass used in tableware or decorative objects; sometimes referred to simply as 'Crystal' or Lead Crystal; similar to Czech Crystal & Waterford Crystal


TURQUENITE - a trade name for artificially dyed Howlite or Magnesite sold as imitation Turquoise


TURQUOISE - with so much variation in genuine Turquoise and each locale displaying its own distinctive colour & matrix characteristics, spotting fakes can be particularly challenging; stabilised Turquoise is not considered a fake, but rather a widely accepted necessary practice to improve the stability of most authentic gem grade Turquoise; manmade resin and dyed Howlite & Magnesite imitations, however, are prolific; watch out concentrated dye along cracks in the stone, an unusually glossy or shiny appearance, or saturated colours for a low price (real Turquoise is usually fairly expensive in any form); dyes will only seep a few millimetres below the surface, so any chips in a fake stone will reveal a white interior; the look of the webbing or natural matrix can also indicate a fake (though the differences can be very subtle) - ubiquitously fine, delicate, or angular veins, grey-coloured veins, or veins with a 'crackled' or broken up appearance may be indicative of dyed Howlite or Magnesite; Turquoise or its imitations can also be reconstituted from a fine powder or larger chips that are bonded with resin, sometimes including artificial copper veining (known by the trade name 'Copper Turquoise')


WATERFORD CRYSTAL - a trademarked name for a manmade lead glass used in tableware or decorative objects; sometimes referred to simply as 'Crystal' or Lead Crystal; similar to Czech Crystal & Swarovski Crystal


YE MING ZHU - a manmade ceramic material, artificially doped with rare earth elements so that it phosphoresces; also known as Yeh Ming Jhu or Night Bright Pearl


ZINCITE - most commonly refers to a manmade material created initially as a byproduct of industrial zinc smelting from Olawa in Lower Silesia, Poland in the '70's & '80's; synthetic crystals formed in the recesses of chimneys as the result of a faulty smokestack design (not from a fire or mine accident as often stated); more recently, industrial zinc works in Palmerton, Pennsylvania, USA have produced similar synthetic crystals; other artificial Zincite crystals appear to have made their way onto the market under the same 'smokestack fire' story, though these crystals often have strong terminations and are thought to be lab-grown; genuine crystals of Zincite are extremely rare in nature (the mineral more often appearing as foliated or irregular masses)


 

GEMSTONE TREATMENTS


In addition to those examples mentioned above, the following also lists a variety of other genuine crystals that are often artificially treated. Gemstone 'enhancements' that enrich a stone's colour are most commonly applied to faceted stones for use in jewellery, however there are a number of instances when raw and polished crystal specimens may also be treated. Before making any crystal purchase, it is a good idea to find out whether a stone has undergone any artificial treatments if this is something that is important to you. Many such treatments exist within the crystal and gemstone industry, including dying, heat-treating, irradiating, and coating - and any reputable crystal seller should be able to tell you exactly what kind of alterations have been made to a stone (if any). Stabilization is the only widely accepted necessary practice to improve the stability of Turquoise and some Opals (creating doublets or triplets), which would otherwise be too prone to cracking or crumbling.




COMMONLY DYED - Agate, Chalcedony, Coral, Dalmatian Jasper, Howlite (sold as fake Turquoise), Jade, Magnesite (sold as fake Turquoise), Onyx, Quartz, Sillimanite (sold as fake Emerald, Ruby & Sapphire)


COMMONLY HEAT TREATED - Amber, Blue Moon Quartz, Blue Zircon, Carnelian, Citrine, Lemon Quartz, Ouro Verde Quartz, Prasiolite, Red Tiger's Eye, Tanzanite


COMMONLY IRRADIATED - Brown Topaz, Hiddenite, Kunzite, London Blue Topaz, Purple Scapolite, Rubellite Tourmaline, Smoky Quartz, Swiss Blue Topaz


COMMONLY COATED - Aura Calcite, Aura Danburite, Aura Quartz, Mystic Topaz, Rainbow Druzy, Rainbow Hematite (polished)


COMMONLY ACID TREATED - Green Calcite, Nickel Iron Meteorites, Orange Calcite, Peacock Ore, Purpurite


COMMONLY RECONSTITUTED - Amber, Azurite & Malachite, Copper, Hematite, Turquoise


COMMONLY OILED - Amber, Calcite, Emerald, Fluorite, Hanksite, Sphalerite, Thomsonite


COMMONLY GLASS FILLED - Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire


COMMONLY BLEACHED - Jadeite, Tiger's Eye


COMMONLY LAQUERED - Native Copper, Specular Hematite


 


Original article by Michelle Cunningham of Solstice.



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